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  • Independent panel to handle claims on Swiss bank accounts

    JERUSALEM, June 8 (JTA) — Jewish groups and Swiss banks have taken a significant step toward returning the assets from unclaimed accounts that were opened by Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. The World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Swiss Bankers Association agreed to set up an independent panel to handle requests from Holocaust survivors or their…

  • U.S. report provokes debate among Swiss on wartime role

    ZURICH, May 11 (JTA) — A debate has erupted in Switzerland in the wake of a U.S. report that harshly criticized the country’s wartime dealings with the Nazis. The 200-page report, released May 7 in Washington by U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce Stuart Eizenstat, included charges that Swiss purchases of Nazi-looted gold helped prolong the Third…

  • Switzerland prepares to host Zionism centennial festivities

    BASEL, April 6 (JTA) — This northwestern Swiss city at the border of France and Germany is busy preparing to host celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of a landmark event in the history of the creation of the Jewish state. On Aug. 29-31, 1897, the first session of the Zionist Congress was held here to…

  • Swiss guard faces hostility for saving bank documents

    ZURICH, March 26 (JTA) — Special security arrangements are being provided for the Swiss bank guard who was dismissed after saving wartime documents from the shredder and giving them to the Jewish community. The arrangements were put in place after Christoph Meili received death threats, his lawyer, Marcel Bosonnet, said this week. “The life of…

  • Fate of Holocaust memorial fund now lies with Swiss government

    BERN, Feb. 25 (JTA) — The fate of a Swiss Holocaust memorial fund now lies in the hands of the Swiss government. Lengthy meetings early this week here between Swiss and Jewish officials produced an agreement about how to administer the fund, recently established by Switzerland’s three main banks. The Swiss Federal Council was scheduled…

  • Switzerland may oppose naming local Jew to head Holocaust fund

    ZURICH, March 30 (JTA) — At least one member of the Swiss Cabinet is questioning whether a local Jewish leader should chair the body that will oversee disbursements from Switzerland’s recently established Holocaust Memorial Fund. Rolf Bloch, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland, confirmed last week that “it was the understanding” of…

  • Swiss, Jewish groups end fight over makeup of Holocaust fund

    ZURICH, May 5 (JTA) — After weeks of wrangling between the Swiss government and Jewish groups, the two sides have reached agreement on the composition of an executive board that will oversee the distribution of millions of dollars to needy Holocaust survivors. The Swiss government last week appointed Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to serve as…

  • Swiss government to manage bank-financed Holocaust fund

    BERN, Feb. 12 (JTA) — Swiss Jewish leaders are giving a mixed response to their government’s decision to formally establish a fund to compensate Holocaust victims and their families. The Federation of Jewish Communities in Switzerland, the communal umbrella group, welcomed what it described as the “quick” decision of the Swiss government to establish the…

  • Extremist Swiss legislator denounces Holocaust fund

    ZURICH, March 3 (JTA) — In a speech laced with anti-Semitic references, a right-wing member of the Swiss Parliament has lashed out against his country’s decision to endorse a memorial fund for needy Holocaust survivors. Addressing a rally here Saturday, Christoph Blocher also said that Switzerland had no reason to apologize for doing business with…

  • Swiss party launches campaign against efforts to aid survivors

    ZURICH, May 5 (JTA) — Switzerland’s Jewish community is reacting with alarm to a new campaign launched by the Popular Party aimed at undermining public support for two Swiss funds created to help needy Holocaust survivors. “Blackmail is disgusting and ugly,” reads one poster that was posted at key intersections here by the right-wing party,…